Mar 1 1989

George Bush: Not a Wimp, But a Rough Rider

George H.W. Bush hunting

For those Americans still clueless that a virile, active president has replaced an aging enfeebled one, the Bush administration has kindly and gently choreographed a remarkable outdoors routine for the nation’s press photographers

Mar 1 1989

Time/Warner Merger: Threat to the First Amendment

Cubed Curve (cc photo: Wally Gobetz)

Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. —A.J. Leibling When Ben Bagdikian predicted in the first edition of The Media Monopoly (1983) that the future would see a half-dozen corporations controlling most of the media market, he was attacked as alarmist and paranoid. This month, when the Time and Warner communication giants announced their merger, making it the world’s biggest media corporation, Time executives asserted that there will eventually be about a half-dozen global powers in the media, and they vowed to make their company one of them (AP, Boston Globe, 3/5/89). Life imitates Ben. Most of […]

Mar 1 1989

U.S. Media on a Terrorist Tirade

No sooner was it established that Pan Am Flight 103 had been destroyed by a bomb than the U.S. media went into its predictable ritual. Journalists prepared President Reagan and President-elect Bush with all the usual questions: How can we bring terrorists to justice? Will we retaliate against any country harboring those responsible for bombing passenger planes? Reagan and Bush responded with the expected tough-sounding rhetoric, Reagan: “We’re going to make every effort to find out who was guilty of this savage thing and bring them to justice.” Bush pledged to “seek hard and punish firmly, decisively, those who did […]

Mar 1 1989

S&L Coverage Ignores Root Causes and Progressive Options

The average taxpayer, curious to know how and why an estimated $1,000 per household will be handed to the Savings & Loan industry, won’t get much help from the news media. Thus far, coverage of the S&L crisis has offered little analysis of how the multi-billion dollar boondoggle relates to broader economic questions and little attention has been paid to solutions put forward by national progressive leaders. The S&L story only began regularly hitting the front pages in late 1989. To band-aid the hemorrhaging industry, the government began passing out multi-million dollar tax breaks and guarantees like candy on Halloween. […]

Mar 1 1989

Corporate Profile: The New York Times

The New York Times is not only the newspaper of record for the Fortune 500, it is also a member in good standing of that elite group of corporate giants. Though a number of press critics have dissected the ideological biases, deadly prose and institutional arrogance of the Times, its business operations are less frequently studied. Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer (from which this article is adapted), reports that today’s Times is dancing to a marketing beat. In 1878, Adolph Ochs bought a failing paper, the Chattanooga Times, for $5,570 in mostly borrowed money. Through a dedication to […]

Mar 1 1989

More Gloss for the Gipper

The Myth of Reagan's 'Enormous Popularity'

Reagan Popularity Graph

Reagan left office bolstered by the oft-repeated media myth that he had been far and away the most popular of any president since World War II. But bearing in mind Mark Twain’s observation that a lie gets half-way around the world before truth puts its boots on, the U.S. public deserves to know what the polling data actually says. According to Gallup polls taken throughout his presidency, Reagan was not one of the more popular presidents in the post-Roosevelt pack. At various points during his presidency he rated lower than the other presidents during comparable periods of their terms in […]